Buddhists celebrate the Dalai Lama's birthday

Holiday. His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s Birthday

When? July 6.

Where? Tibet, India, Nepal and other Buddhist countries.

The meaning and history. According to the Buddhist legend, the Dalai Lama moved after his physical death into the body of a newborn. The 13th Dalai Lama left a prediction, describing the exact place of his next rebirth.

The 14th Dalai was born as Lhamo Thondup - literally "Wish-Fulfilling Goddess" - on 6 July 1935, in a small village just outside the current boundaries of Tibet. His life was changed forever when, at the age of three, Lhamo Thondup was identified by a search party of Buddhist officials as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama. He was separated from his parents and transferred to a monastery to study. In 1940, at the age of 5, Lhamo Thondup was officially installed as spiritual leader of Tibet and was inducted as a novice monk with a new name, Tenzin Gyatso. In 1959, at the age of 23, he took his final examination at Lhasa's Jokhang Temple. He passed with honours and was awarded the Lharampa degree, the highest-level geshe degree, roughly equivalent to a doctorate in Buddhist philosophy. The 14th Dalai Lama received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1989.

How it is celebrated. This is the only Buddhist holiday which is celebrated according to the European calendar. This year Dalai Lama will celebrate his birthday in India (you can find the schedule here http://www.dalailama.com/teachings/schedule). All people who recognize Dalai Lama as their spiritual leader pray on this day in temples or at home for His Holiness’ health and longevity. In some countries, e.g. U.S.A., the Tibet Fund organizes beautiful and joyous parties.

"I was born in Germany, but my parents are from Kathmandu, Nepal”, tells Laxmi. “They usually celebrate every Dalai Lama’s birthday with traditional Nepalese food and prayers. Some years ago, my long-time dream came true and I travelled to Kathmandu. I was lucky to see at Boudha monastery how people celebrate the Dalai Lama's birthday. It was amazing! People were dressed in traditional costumes and made a cultural show with dances. There were many Tibetan monks, who watched festivities honouring the birthday of their spiritual leader”.

Laxmi’s husband, Christian is not a Buddhist, but he is interested in this religion. Because of a new job, her family moved recently to Villach and feels very well in Carinthia.

Text: Vita Vitrenko.